Sylvia Plath`s The Bell Jar

Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar
Trisha Paul
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Who is Sylvia Plath?
American writer (poetry, short stories, novels)
 Married to poet laureate Ted Hughes, 2 kids
Committed suicide in 1963 (age 31)
One month after the publication of The Bell Jar
The Bell Jar
Heinemann First Edition
Faber and Faber
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
Currently in 5th edition (published May 2013)
Used by mental health professionals in the U.S.
Included homosexuality until 1974 (DSM-II, seventh printing)
No longer includes Asperger’s syndrome (now part of Autism
Spectrum Disorders)
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
Incorporated into DSM-III in 1980
Depressed mood most of day, hopelessness,
despair, fatigue, etc.
“Bereavement exclusion” (DSM-IV): depression
not diagnosed after recent death of loved one
“bodily signs designed to expose something
unusual and bad about the moral status of the
signifier. The signs were cut or burnt into the
body and advertised that the bearer was a
slave, a criminal, or a traitor—a blemished
person, ritually polluted, to be avoided,
especially in public places.” (1)
Now: “applied more to the disgrace itself than
to the bodily evidence of it” (1-2)
Where does stigma originate from, and what
influences stigma?
Visible vs. Invisible
What might some examples of visible stigma
be? Of invisible stigma?
How might these experiences of stigma differ?
Language: word choice, tone, sounds
Structure: punctuation, line breaks, stanzas
Grammar: metaphors, similes,
Frank’s illness narratives: chaos, quest, restitution